HERMITAGE, Pennsylvania – James A. Dunlap, a former editor of The Herald who over decades helped guide statewide journalism advancements and led Shenango Valley civic activities, died Tuesday, January 16, 2018. He was 95.
Mr. Dunlap, who would have turned 96 on Jan. 27, passed away at Woodside at Shenango on the Green, an Alzheimer’s care facility in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
His career at The Herald spanned more than 35 years, starting as telegraph editor in 1952, a time of manual typewriters and pneumatic tubes in newsrooms; county editor; managing editor for 16 years, where he helped oversee the enormous transition from hot lead type to computerized typesetting; then editor from March 1972 to March 1987.
Upon arrival in the Valley in 1952, Mr. Dunlap embarked on a lifetime of civic contribution. He was a past president of the Sharon Rotary Club, a former member of the United Way of Mercer County and the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce and a deacon, elder and trustee of the First Presbyterian Church. In 1995, he represented the Presbytery of Shenango as a commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He was perhaps most proud of his long involvement in scouting. As a boy, he attained Life Scout rank and served five years as counselor at the Treasure Island Boy Scout Camp, north of Philadelphia in the midst of the Delaware River which he was known to swim across (Until recent years, he was a regular lap swimmer at the F.H. Buhl Club, now the Buhl Community Recreation Center). He served four terms as president of the Mercer County Boy Scout Council and was one of the leaders in the development of Camp Hank Forker at the Custaloga Town Scout Reservation near Carlton, Pennsylvania. In 1964, he was awarded the council’s Silver Beaver for distinguished service to youth. He had been a vice president of the French Creek Council, a merger of three Boy Scout councils in northwestern Pennsylvania. In 2000, he resigned his council membership in protest of the Boy Scouts’ exclusionary policy toward gay scoutmasters, backed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Before coming to The Herald, Mr. Dunlap worked as a copy editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and as an assistant city editor at the Des Moines Register in Iowa.
During three years in the Army Air Forces in World War II, he was editor and photographer for the base newspaper in Waycross, Georgia. Before his discharge in 1946, he also served in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps, where he also taught photography.
After the war, he earned his Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Mr. Dunlap was a founding member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi and was a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and of The Associated Press Managing Editors.
He was also a past president of the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors and served 12 years as chairman of the PSNE liaison committee with Penn State’s School of Journalism. A committee resolution in 1985 recognized Mr. Dunlap as its founding chairman and for being instrumental in separating the journalism department from the College of Liberal Arts to form the free-standing College of Communications at Penn State.
Through professional contacts, he brought many notable speakers to the Shenango Valley for events sponsored by the College Club, the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Boy Scouts of America.
Born January 27, 1922, in Philadelphia, he was the fourth and youngest son of M. Edmunds and Leona Anderson Dunlap.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Mary Lou Ellis Bromley of Hermitage; a daughter, Julia C. Dunlap of Santa Fe, New Mexico, from his first marriage to the former Jean Willson; a stepson, David W. Bromley of San Francisco; two grandsons, Erick A. Dunlap and Sean W. Dunlap and his wife, Jess, all of Athens, Georgia; a granddaughter, Katherine Anne Dunlap Casey and her husband, Drew, of Franklin, Tennessee; a great-grandson, Henry Day Dunlap and two daughters-in-law, Katharine Mims Himley of Athens, Georgia and Paula Corey of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He was preceded in death by two sons, Craig Willson Dunlap and Randolph Anderson Dunlap.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1100 Liberty Avenue, Suite E 201, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 and to Sharon Regional Hospice, 1955 Shenango Valley Freeway, Hermitage, PA 16148.
There are no calling hours.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, January 19, 2018, in the First Presbyterian Church, Sharon, with Rev. Dr. Glenn Hink, senior pastor, officiating.
Arrangements by J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 1090 E. State St., Sharon.
A television tribute will air Wednesday, January 17 at the following approximate times:
12:25 p.m. WKBN, 6:58 p.m. on MyYTV and 10:37 p.m. FOX plus two additional spots throughout the day.